Jeff Huber Responds

Many of you were aware of my efforts to get Local search practitioners and SMB readers of my blog to communicate to Jeff Huber (@jhuber) which things they would like to hear about Google Local & Commerce via Twitter from him.

Well, with the rollout of the new interface and Google+ behind him, Jeff has taken the time and graciously responded to the post. I wanted to repost his comment and my reply to him as a post so that it would be more visible:

I’ll leave ‘totally’ or ‘intentionally’ for another debate. :) Clarifying a bit — I’m a Twitter fan. I was simply looking for a rough measure of the attention to a given tweet, which I do think on average is low. I’m a pretty active user of ~all Google’s products (having built more than a few of them), and other products out there — e.g. Sometimes my response time does lag a bit, and sometimes I can’t say as much as I’d like about things that aren’t announced yet — sorry.

My response:

@Jeff

Thanks for stopping by and responding.

To some extent you are the unintentional recipient of frustration borne of 5 years of irregular, inconsistent, non-informative and often infuriating lack of communications and basic service from the Google Local/Maps/Places side of Google. I think that both SMBs and the professionals that interact with your product would agree….Most of those affected by Google Places are shocked when they feel the sting of a broad, scaled statistical approach to the very real pain of SMBs world wide.

My “totally/intentionally” comment, while perhaps overreacting or projecting previously felt futility, came when I read that tweet and thought that it was but a continuation of the “data in but no information out” and lack of transparency mentality that we have become used to in dealing with Places.

Although your effort to look “for a rough measure of the attention to a given tweet” could also easily be construed as a somewhat awkward attempt to extract data from a very real social context. When in fact it is a social context that is not just one more data point but rather the outcome of all the previous events that got us here… many of which you/Google played a significant role in.

Essentially your tweet was sent into a world made up of users/practitioners that are starved for information about a product that has a very real and profound impact on our lives. And for me at least, I always hope for better from Google.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Jeff Huber Responds by

11 thoughts on “Jeff Huber Responds”

  1. +1 Mike_Local Business Listing Ambassador. Will trackback to see if you get a response. Appreciate how you voiced the frustrations within the SMB’s we work with.

  2. Mike, I understand the importance of Local/Maps/Places for you and many, many small & local businesses, and I’m sorry for historical issues. I care deeply about the quality of our products and the experience of our customers, and will do my best to make them better every day. Your feedback is appreciated.

  3. Jeff
    Thanks again for stopping by and standing in front of and up to the arrows I’ve sent your way.

    I am sure that i speak for many when i say that we look forward to an improved product with a great deal of anticipation.

    Never one to be happy at half full, I have to ask the original question that has yet to really be answered: Do we also get more substantive Tweets (or G+) as well?

  4. As much ad Google loves to source from within, it would be an added bonus if they attempted to apply the suggestions of local search enthusiasts or simply respond to logical and authoritative inquiries on Google’s local efforts.

    Thank you to both.

  5. Mike,

    I look forward to an improved product with a great deal of anticipation as well!

    Re:tweeting — with the recent Google+ ‘field trial’ (which is going very well) and impending launch, I expect my primary voice will be there (aka http://plus.google.com/; me on Google+: http://profiles.google.com/jhuber). Let me know anyone here that wants an invite to the G+ field trial.

    And pre-emptively answering a question — yes, we will have (smb) business profile pages on Google+. I can’t announce a launch date yet, but we want to make them *great*, and we’re coding as fast as we can.

  6. Jeff,

    Is there a timeline for making + available to Apps accounts? I understand the limitation has to do with lack of profile support for Apps accounts. I think that support for Apps accounts would logically come before launching business profile pages, since it stands to reason that many businesses would be apps users.

  7. @Mike @Jeff
    Is it possible that + will swallow Places & not vice versa? Seems more logical.
    It’ll be great to have a huge control panel where you can update your biz listing, “Circle” different customers according to their status (repeat, new, etc..).
    I think that for a small business owner, a smart & targeted + account will have a great impact on the way his biz will be operated.

    BTW- i’d love to be invited for the + project as well!

    Yam Regev

  8. Jeff, would love an invite if possible for:
    allworlddance(at)gmail(dot)com

    Thanks!

    PS – It’s great to see communication from the great monolith!

  9. @Jeff:

    I’d appreciate a google + invite at david.oremland at gmail.com.

    Also, as a “big mouth” in this blog and other forums, I’m curious about the level of “customer service” at the Google Places forum.

    Jeff: I’ve been intermittantly commenting at the Places forum for several years. Over that time, I’ve made efforts to assist businesses with informational problems that show up in Places records within Universal Search, addressed various problems I’ve discovered, occaisionally notified the Places team of obvious errors for my accounts and those of others, have surprisingly seen some of them quietly fixed within a day, have continued to pursue problems over a nine month period, and just over this past weekend participated in the retweeting of a Google Places problem that has evidently persisted for approximately 1.5 years:

    http://maps.google.com/maps/place?q=definition+6&cid=1492080604203443047

    (note the reviews and related places information).

    What I’m curious about is the willingness of Google Places to staff up its Google Places Forum communications team with additional people and respond more directly and more quickly to obvious issues in which Places Records show incorrect information.

    As you are well aware, this blog has often been the arena where the specific problems of businesses and at times entire towns have been highlighted as it pertains to misinformation within Google Places.

    The problems often emerge from a complex algo related to a Place. The specific issues often result in real hard loss of income for a business or businesses. The culprit is often the dramatically visable Google Places record which has become the modern day version for the White Pages/Yellow Pages/ 411 source for how to find and contact a business.

    Some of the more troublesome problems have occurred when a hospital or police department have had their contact phone numbers misrepresented, potentially creating dire emergencies.

    Surely Google could increase its responsiveness on these issues and more quickly and directly respond to them as they occur. I’m sure the existing small staff that responds to these issues would appreciate a somewhat larger and more responsive effort.

    Clearly the public, both consumers, businesses and public entities would appreciate a stronger level of response.

    I look forward to your comments on this issue.

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